If you suffered any gardening disappointments last year, I want to help you improve your growing techniques, so you’ll experience the uplifting joy of gardening success, this year!

Gardening is such a positive hobby, growing plants truly enriches our lives; yet it can be utterly disheartening when seedlings die, our plants decline to flower or fruit, or don’t perform as well as we hoped. 

Brilliant plants for bees and butterflies!

The furry bees, colourful butterflies, mysterious moths, darting hoverflies, and other pollinating insects that visit my garden are just as fascinating as the plants I grow.  The sound of bees buzzing and the sight of butterflies fluttering relaxes and inspires me.  I want to help you find the best pollen and nectar-rich plants to attract insects and bring your garden to life!

Making Meadows

Meadows present a natural, seemingly effortless beauty, with an undeniable allure.  For the most part, meadow guardians save much of the energy that gardeners spend repeatedly mowing and maintaining traditional lawns.  Nevertheless, meadows are not an easy option; creating a meadow requires endeavour, careful planning, and time, to ensure success.

Perennial meadow plants

Our native British, perennial meadow plants flourish in poor soils, where they grow contentedly alongside sedately-growing, fine-leaved grasses. 

As autumn turns to winter, days shorten and the prospect of warming ourselves by the fire may be more enticing than being outdoors, take time to warm your heart with thoughts of elegantly perfumed roses.  This is the perfect opportunity to order roses as bare root plants to plant during the winter time, while the plants are dormant, to deliver charming, beautiful rose blooms and delectable fragrance to your garden or allotment next summer.

The M&G Garden was designed by James Basson and built by Crocus.  The M&G Garden was awarded a Gold Medal, the Best Construction Award, and Best in Show, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017.  I caught up with James Basson at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017, to find out more about this special, award winning garden.

Beth: Are the plants going back to Malta afterwards?

The UNHCR: ‘Border Control’ Garden was designed by Tom Massey and John Ward.  This Conceptual Garden was built by Landform Consultants and sponsored by UNHCR.  The RHS judges presented the UNHCR: ‘Border Control’ Garden with a Gold Medal, and the prestigious title of Best Conceptual Garden, at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016. 

The Border Control Garden was designed to draw attention to the plight of refugees.  

The L’Occitane Garden was designed by James Basson, and built by Peter Dowle.  The RHS judges awarded the L’Occitane Garden a Gold Medal, at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of beauty brand L’Occitane, garden designer James Basson, has looked back at the roots of L’Occitane, focussing on how and where the company was created.  L’Occitane was started in 1976, in Haute Provence, when Oliver Baussan found an old steam distiller that had been discarded.  

The Winton Capital Beauty of Mathematics Garden was designed by Nick Bailey, the Head Gardener of the Chelsea Physic Garden, and built by Gardenlink.  

Nick Bailey’s design for The Winton Capital Beauty of Mathematics Garden focuses on the mathematical patterns that appear in plants and in nature, underpinning our natural world – such as the Golden Ratio.  These mathematical patterns are expressed throughout the garden’s structure, the layout of the planting, and the featured plants.  

Cleve West designed The M&G Garden for The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

The RHS judges awarded The M&G Garden a Gold Medal.

Swatton Landscape, who built The M&G Garden to Cleve’s design, were presented with The Best Construction Award.  This is a brand new award, the only one of its kind; it was presented for the first time this year to recognise the importance and skill of the contractors who build the gardens at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show. 

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show is the world’s most prestigious flower show.  Award winning garden designers from all over the world, together with their teams, made up of some of the best landscape architects, project managers, builders, technicians, horticulturalists, artists and crafts people, have been working for the past three weeks to turn The Royal Hospital’s grounds at Chelsea into a sea of gardening ideas and innovation.  

Whether you’ve got a garden, patio, balcony, or a windowsill, remembering to choose flowering plants that produce pollen and nectar that bees and other pollinating insects can access when you’re selecting new plants is a wonderful and worthwhile thing to do.

I met up with James Basson, to find out more about the Gold Medal winning garden, A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse by L’Occitane, that James designed for the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Pumpkin Beth: What’s your favourite thing about your garden A Perfumer’s Garden in Grasse?  What’s your favourite plant?

James Basson: The dead bits!  I am very happy with the dead bits, that’s what made the garden feel authentic and without that it would have just been another pretty garden, and I didn’t want that.  

Today I took part in Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count!  I spent a very happy and relaxing 15 minutes counting different butterflies and day flying moths and recording them on the specially designed app, which is available without charge for Android and iOS.  Here are just a few of the butterflies I spotted.  If you’d like to take part in Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count, you have plenty of time, it runs from 17th July 2015 through until 9th August 2015.